Dec 302015
 

My friend Clarissa writes:

Many people are lured into believing that apps can do everything a computer can and never acquire crucial computer skills. They go around brandishing their smartphones and tablets and have no idea why, in spite of all the productivity apps, they never seem to catch up. It’s especially sad to see young people get caught up in this self-defeating mentality.

typing

photo by Miles Basil

Mar 252014
 

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Marketing student explains why students should learn code in his post “The ‘C’ Word, and Why You Need to Add It to Your Vocabulary.”

“Social collaboration through learning is an incredible motivator” to understand and write the algorithms that are the language of technology, says Codeacademy cofounder Ryan Bubinski, in the above video. The lessons and guidance are free: an extraordinary resource.

Feb 042014
 

A brilliant former student of mine highly recommends this organization, “a women-run not-for-profit working to empower and inspire more women and girls to become passionate builders – not just consumers – of the web and technology.” Ladies Learning Code is sponsoring a day-long session – an introduction to CSS and HTML – at Vancouver’s Hootsuite headquarters on February 22:

If you are looking to get your feet wet when it comes to programming, then this is the workshop for you. HTML and CSS are the backbone of all websites, and knowledge of them is a necessity if you are interested in things like web development, creating marketing emails, or even blogging! The web without HTML and CSS would be would be a world without colourful, pretty websites, not to mention the web applications we all use daily. It’s easy to learn, and was designed so that everyone – even non-programmers – can do it. No fancy programs are needed, just Notepad and a web browser!

The Ladies Learning Code Introduction to HTML & CSS workshop is designed to be a hands-on experience. During the session, you’ll build something like this and learn the following:

– Basic techniques and concepts that are translatable to other programming languages

– The building blocks of how HTML and CSS work together to create richer online experiences

– How to create a rich website with images, video, and a CSS-defined layout

– What resources are available if you’d like to continue learning at home (and we think you will)

… This workshop has been designed for absolute beginners. If you know absolutely nothing about coding or computer programming, you’ve come to the right place! Our only expectation is that you know how to open up a web browser and do something online like checking your email. (But if you’re reading this, we’re pretty sure you know how to do that.)

You can find out more about the organization on Twitter via the hashtag #ladieslearningcode.

Feb 172013
 

Love Adobe Creative Suite but can’t stomach the price? Looking for a new e-mail client with a feature that’s missing from your current one? Love Omnifocus, but it’s not available for Windows?

Enter Alternativeto.net. Alternativeto.net offers, based on user recommendations, a list of apps with similar functionality. The site permits you to filter by tag, license, and platform, and rank based on a number of different criteria. Not all the suggestions are spot on, but it’s a great site for exploring.

Feb 092013
 

If you spend as much time looking at a screen as I frequently do for work and play, you’ve probably experienced eyestrain. Lucky for us, Stereopsis has created a nice little free app that makes that screengazing easier on the eyes: f.lux. F.lux uses your location and lighting settings to adjust the brightness and color of your monitor throughout the day. Now that I’ve acclimated to using it — I even use it for gaming — turning it off makes my eyes burn.

Do yourself a favor: Get f.lux and go easy on your eyes. It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPad/iPhone.